Monday, November 28, 2011


Katie Malco inhabits the My First Tooth end of the Alcopop Records stable: melody-savvy acoustic folk-pop. Instead of the indie-folk hoedown leanings of her Northamptonshire label-mates, the Fife-born, London-based singer-songwriter tends towards crisply produced song-writer fare that will mean she will soon (already?) tire of the Laura Marling comparisons. But in the same way Marling can win both a BRIT and a NME award, Malco should span a broad church of music fans.

Opener ‘Laadeedaa’ is a jaunty acoustic number with pacy, plucked guitar and pin-sharp voice. Despite a title that suggests empty-headed nonsense, it sounds emphatically firm of purpose to the point where its final massed chorus becomes the most resolute of clarion calls. ‘Sad Eyes’ adds to this sense of flinty resolution. The full band sound helps – organ hum, guitar twang and swinging rhythms (handclaps would not go amiss) - but again it is her confident vocals and lyrics that carry the message “I'm fine, I'll survive” and you’re left in no doubt she means it.

‘Get in the Car’ is a more halting, plaintive song of ghosts and regret with a chorus of nocturnal escape (and a slight hint of Tracy Chapman's ‘Fast Car’ too, making it the most mainstream-friendly cut here). It is on banjo and fiddle country ballad ‘Johnny’ that Katie Malco moves away from the strong persona evident on other songs, here playing the down-trodden woman, crying at night and wishing to leave. Whether fictional or autobiographical, the depth of feeling in the lover’s exchanges in ‘Florence Nighingale's House’ is palpable. A quiet weepie delivered with simplicity of touch but again that steady, unfaltering voice. Gorgeous stuff.

Even if these songs are not drawn from experience, Katie Malco keeps it personal on the EP’s customisable sleeve: a die-cut gilt frame with three family snaps to swap as front cover. She may not be iconoclastic or ground-breaking but there’s a flinty steel and an elegant classiness that should see Katie Malco’s profile rise and for her to narrow the gap between herself and her double Mercury-nominated nemesis.

Katie Malco - Johnny by alcopop

Katie Malco and the Slow Parade [BUY]

No comments: